Fauquier County contains over 200,000 acres of forested land. These forested areas play an important role in the fabric of the county. They provide the backbone of the scenic beauty the county is famous for, they protect water resources, provide wildlife habitat, and offer numerous avenues for outdoor recreation.
In addition, the woodlands provide timber, firewood, and other products that benefit the county economically. During the 1990's, approximately one million dollars of forest products were harvested annually. As the population of Fauquier County has increased over the years, many of the large forested areas have remained pretty much intact, but are now owned by many more individuals in numerous smaller tracts.
Many of these new landowners are interested in managing their woodlands and generating income. It has become apparent in recent years that there is no one clearinghouse of information to assist landowners. Several agencies have expertise in differing areas. Among the local agencies working with landowners to manage forestlands are the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Fauquier County Agricultural Development Office. In addition, there are numerous private consulting foresters and timber harvesting companies that serve the area.
Most of the interest shown by landowners is for growing or cutting traditional timber products. However, there is still some interest in growing Christmas trees and other horticultural crops. And, in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who want to grow or harvest alternative forest products. These products are generally referred to as non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and include such items as mushrooms, ginseng, wild herbs, and decorative plants.
The Fauquier County Agricultural Development Department has provided the links below that can be of use to anyone interested in either traditional or non-traditional forest enterprises. Each link below contains information to websites and to individuals with expertise in these areas.